Why Frank Reich deserves to be the head coach of the Carolina Panthers

Despite the success of interim head coach Steve Wilks, the Carolina Panthers have decided to make Frank Reich the leader of the organization. That decision angered some of the fan base, as some believed Wilk’s 6-6 record with an underperforming Panthers roster should have earned him the right to become head coach in 2023. While Wilks deserves all the credit in the world for turning the Panthers around in 2022, Frank Reich is a proven winner and better suited to this team’s needs.

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Why Frank Reich, not Steve Wilks, is the right head coach for the Carolina Panthers

Proven track record

Of course, the most important thing a head coach can do is win football games and Reich has proven he can do that over time. Reich took over as head coach at Indianapolis back in 2018 and led the team to a winning record in three of his first four seasons. He did so despite not having continuity at quarterback. While he had a great quarterback in Andrew Luck in 2018, he had to settle for Jacoby Brissett in 2019, an aging Philip Rivers in 2020, and Carson Wentz in 2021.

The fact that he’s made these teams competitive with such underperforming quarterback play and one of the lowest payrolls in the league speaks to his skills as a head coach. Yes, the wheels fell off in 2022, but it’s not his fault that Matt Ryan just didn’t have it anymore. In fact, the Colts were a significantly worse team when Reich left, which only goes to show that he wasn’t the problem in Indianapolis.

Wilks, on the other hand, only has a year as a head coach, and it hasn’t gone well. The freshman head coach led the Arizona Cardinals to a 3-13 record in 2018 and the first overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Well, to be fair, this roster lacked talent, and Andy Reid would have had a tough time picking a .500 -Pull out record. However, Wilks hasn’t been at his best on offense or defense, and head coaches generally don’t improve in their second term.

Attack wins championships

The old saying goes that defense wins championships, but that saying came about when players could actually play defense. Decades of rule changes have made life a lot easier for NFL offense, and if you want to win in today’s NFL you need to have good offense and good passing offense.

The best way to do this is to find a franchise quarterback. Now, elite quarterbacks like Patrick Mahomes and prime Tom Brady would find a way to thrive in any environment. However, the vast majority of quarterbacks need a good situation and continuity to adjust to life in the NFL.

Because Frank Reich is an offense-oriented head coach, he has a natural advantage over the defensive-oriented Steve Wilks. The Colts never put significant draft capital into a quarterback with Reich as head coach, but he helped develop Carson Wentz during his time with the Eagles. That might sound like an insult, but by the time Reich left Philadelphia, Wentz was widely considered one of the league’s best up-and-coming passers. While Wentz clearly wasn’t the answer at Indianapolis, it’s worth noting that his 2021 season under Reich was probably the best year he’s had since his 2017 MVP caliber, which also fell under Reich.

Additionally, having Reich means the next quarterback doesn’t have to worry about learning a new scheme every few years. In theory, had Wilks got the job, he could have hired a great offensive coordinator to help develop Carolina’s next quarterback. But even if that happened, that coordinator would soon land a head coaching job, forcing Wilks to hire a new coordinator and start the process over. If you don’t think that kind of thing matters, just ask Mac Jones how much he misses Josh McDaniels after one year of Matt Patricia.

Ultimately, Steve Wilks would have been a good hire if the Panthers decided to go down that route. However, Frank Reich is simply a better choice, both as a proven head coach who knows how to win and as someone who gives the Panthers a better chance of finding their next quarterback.

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